Quincy Delight Jones, Jr., or simply known as Quincy Jones, is a distinguished American musician. Very few Jazz enthusiasts are recognized as the biggest names in the music industry, and Jones being one of them, is unquestionably one of the brightest and trendiest legends the world has seen. While primarily mastering the demanding instrument of the trumpet in his earlier years, Jones widened his instrumental capabilities by learning the French horn, drums, piano and synthesizer. Alongside the well-nourished sounds of these instruments, Jones also preferred taking on the challenging role of a vocalist in a number of his compositions. In a career that has spanned well over 6 decades, the Chicago-born maestro has distinguished himself as one of the most prominent and successful musicians, conductors, producers, arrangers, composers and actors in modern day entertainment.
Born on March 14, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois, the 81 year old Hall of Famer has had a long and memorable 6-decade journey in the American music industry. Some of the artists Jones has had the privilege to work with include big names such as Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Peggy Lee, Ray Charles, Paul Simon, and Aretha Franklin, among several others. While his family moved around for work-related affairs in his early years, Jones gathered enough experience to perform with local musicians that shared a similar passion Jazz. From an early age, Jones displayed a tremendous ability for arrangements of difficult compositions, and after receiving a scholarship at Seattle University, had furnished his skills as a trumpeter to play alongside Lionel Hampton’s orchestra in 1953. However, the beginning of his career was marked by average success, and at times, financial instability. After a number of European tours as a trumpeter, Jones had lost most of his savings while prospects for earning decent wages were in the distant horizon. It was only in the mid-1960s, when encouraged by director Sidney Lumet, Jones produced his first ever film score, for a motion picture called The Pawnbroker (1964). It was in this realm of composition that Jones found comfort, solace and only his true potential. While Jones gradually familiarized himself with an arena he knew little about, it is not surprising to note how a celebrity of Jones’ repute continued to explore other avenues of music. In 1964, he arranged for Frank Sinatra’s second album Count Basie, It Might as Well Be Swing.
Meanwhile, with the success of The Pawnbroker, Jones was in high demand by several other film directors throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Some of his next major contributions were film scores for blockbusters such as Walk, Don’t Run (1966), In Cold Blood (1967), In the Heat of the Night and A Dandy in Aspic (1968). During this period, Jones also contributed to theme songs for Television Shows, such as The Bill Cosby Show and Ironside. The most notable theme song under Jones’ name was “The Streetbeater”, later to serve as the theme for the sitcom, Sanford and Son. Jones is most famously known for his efforts with Michael Jackson, on albums such as Off the Wall (1979), Thriller (1982) and Bad (1987).
As a result of an unaccounted number of works credited to this revolutionary composer and musician, the American music industry has honored Quincy Jones with 79 Grammy Award nominations, 27 Grammy Awards and a Grammy Legend Award in 1991. He has inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.